In September, Inman digs deep on real estate teams — what it takes to join or build one, how to optimize a team and even when to consider leaving one. Adding nuance on top of Inman’s weekly Teams Beat email newsletter, this theme month will serve up top insights from the best team leaders across the country.
No one can predict the future of real estate, but you can prepare. Find out what to prepare for and pick up the tools you’ll need at Virtual Inman Connect online Nov. 1-2, 2023. And don’t miss Inman Connect New York on Jan. 23-25, 2024, where AI, capital and more will be center stage. Bet big on the future and join us at Connect.
You’ve got mail . . . from a recruiter. While many agents may be escaping their burgeoning pipeline woes by binge-watching their favorite fall rom-com, they may need to scan their inboxes for new opportunities while they are sipping their pumpkin spice-laced autumnal beverage.
Knowing when to move — and whether you are justified in moving your business — can be a hard decision to make. There are many internal and external factors that need to be deliberated, as any move can be costly. A smart agent will do significant research and interviews before flipping the switch on their home base.
If this summer left you more slumped than satisfied, it may be the perfect time to find a new crew that can help you take your business to the next level. In this heart-to-heart style conversation, let’s explore your motivations, considerations and maybe a few realizations that you need to marinate on.
Evaluating your current ‘situationship’ with your brokerage
Some agents are loyal to a fault, while others will go where the tides take them, seemingly with no rhyme or reason. Here are a few reasons agents consider moving from their current brokerage.
- Poor or absent leadership
- Too many administrative fees
- Too-high splits
- Terrible administrative support
- Branding issues
- Agents want their own name on their business
- Payroll issues
- Too much turnover
- Lack of marketing tools
- Too much training
- Too little training
- Terrible communication and planning
- Desk duty
- Unable to connect with culture
- No desk duty
- No flexible remote work options
- The office is unkempt and parking is terrible
- Lack of leads
- Too-high fees on leads
- No opportunity to grow into a team without a penalty
- Diversity and inclusion issues
- No opportunity to meet with a broker on a regular basis
- Ethics (or a lack thereof)
- No space to meet clients
- Unprofessional behavior or attitudes
- Transaction management issues
- Forced or implied business relationships
- Feeling left out
- No business planning support
- Unethical agents who are tolerated and create chaos
- Poor reviews
- The current brokerage is going to go out of business
- No IT support
It’s a tall list for sure, but if you are identifying with any of these issues, it may be time to start interviewing new brokerages where you can hang your license. This is not a light decision; the fees involved with rebranding and transferring are significant when you are in an “every dollar counts” market. If you are unhappy, start with your broker first, and communicate your thoughts and feelings.
LinkedIn recently posted a poll simply asking for the most important trait you value in a manager. Out of 19,016 votes, communication was, by far, the most important factor for many individuals. Empathy came in next. That means that when you are seeking leadership, you need a leader who can keep you informed but also understands that you are human.
Real talk: Is it time to switch teams or switch out of real estate?
In light of scandals, lawsuits and slow market conditions, you may be wondering if it’s time to consider throwing in the towel on your real estate career.
I don’t know of a single agent this past year who hasn’t had that thought cross their mind. Transactions can be a nightmare to get through, it’s more expensive to buy than ever before, and inventory is an uphill battle
It’s time to get real with your finances. If you are not meeting the cost of living minimum, then you will need to find other income.
Ask yourself the following:
- Are you maximizing opportunities?
- Are you feeling financially secure, or is insecurity causing you to scramble and panic?
- Are you prospecting regularly?
- Do you still love real estate?
There is no shame in placing your license on referral or inactive status until the market improves. Just keep up your continuing education and make sure you can kick that door back open when you are ready.
This is not the economy to be scrappy and fight it out unless you thrive on stress and ramen noodles.
Working through the last recession was not romantic, fun or a gritty badge of honor to brag about. Most days, it was scary and exhausting, and you had to hustle like your lights were going to get turned off.
The agents who made it through the last recession made it because they were willing to work any business that came their way, from rentals to foreclosures, and there was a waterfall of inventory to work with. That is not the case in this market.
Your budget will be a key factor when it comes to making a move this fall. You may also need to get serious about securing a secondary income to get you through 2024 that has a flexible schedule.
Don’t listen to the hype that part-time agents are not real agents or that you can only succeed if you are full-time.
Any agent can be a successful agent; you just have to take into consideration that success looks different for different folks. If you are the secondary income in your household, then you can close a few sales here and there and pay off debt.
If you are a solo earner or the head of household, you must always look six months ahead for expenses to keep your budget steady.
How to find teams and brokerages that will help things ‘fall into place’
In this market, one thing is certain. You need a deep bench of experts to be successful and to stay motivated. Do your homework.
Find leadership that has a track record of regular business pre and post-pandemic. Take a few agents out to coffee and lunch and ask them about what they like (or do not like) about working with their team or brokerage.
8 essential questions to ask during an interview with a new team
- Walk me through transaction management in this office
- What kinds of event and marketing support tools do you offer?
- What kinds of fees should I expect for branding changeover?
- What do you expect from your agents?
- If I have a problem, how do you help me? What if there are legal issues?
- What is your philosophy on training?
- How would you help me grow my business? Can I build my own team?
- How has your business changed in the last year, and how have you adapted?
You and your business change every season. Sometimes, there are more than four seasons in a year, and you have to realize that managing your business can be bittersweet, like that last sip of coffee and realizing that the treat is over and now it’s time to get to the tasks at hand.
A good team and brokerage will have your back but also be looking ahead and will be able to give you the support you need.
I’ve been at my new job for almost a year now, and one of the best parts is that my new manager asks me regularly about career development and future goals. In our weekly team meetings, everyone gets to talk about troubleshooting transaction issues in a collaborative space. If we need to change up the system or get new tools, we do it.
No pressure, no drama, just great information and clear direction for the week ahead. I feel heard, I feel appreciated. You can’t put a dollar value on that. When you are looking for a new home for your business, that is what it should feel like.
You shouldn’t have to extend extra brain power to try to make your business work within the system. The system should work for your business. This is a serious move, and folks pay attention to brokerage- or team-jumpers. Make your move wisely, and reap the benefits.
Rachael Hite is a former agent, a business development specialist, fair housing advocate, copy editor, and is currently perfecting her long game selling homes in a retirement community in Northern Virginia. You can connect with her about life, marketing, and business on Instagram.